Listening to the Joe Rogan podcast and hearing his hunting trips with Steven Rinella and Cameron Hanes was a catalyst for someone like me to get into the field and start hunting meat for myself. The biggest question I had was: how the heck do I get started?
For many people raised in urban environments, hunting is a somewhat foreign concept. Even though I was raised in Texas, I had limited knowledge on what hunting was and definitely had no outlets for trying it out myself.
That is where hunting trips lead by trained outfitters can be an effective strategy.
Whether you are new to hunting and eager to start or experienced and looking for a very specific trophy or animal hunt, outfitters are one of the best ways to go.
In this article, we’ll breakdown not only what you can get from an outfitter-led hunting trip, but also what it specifically costs and where to get started.
Paid Hunting Trips: It’s Not What You Think
The romanticism of going out hunting in the woods alone might sound more appealing (and affordable) than paying someone for their help in hunting. Unfortunately, this isn’t always realistic.
Most animals, whether it is big game or waterfowl, are highly instinctive survival machines. If you think hunting will be easy simply walking into some nearby woods, you have got another thing coming.
Hunting is about learning.
To be a successful hunter there are dozens of microskills that one needs to learn over time. It’s possible to read survival books to get some introduction, but it will never be able to compete with real world experience.
Hunting Trips Are the Best Way to Learn
A paid hunting trip is the best possible way to learn how to get started. Look at the outfitter like training wheels; eventually you will not need them, but it’s only possible to learn with their help.
My first hunting trip was a paid excursion with a friend that was 4 days of hunting and 5 nights. Throughout that time, we had a dedicated outfitter (trained hunter and guide) who literally answered every single question we had for days on end.
The amount of knowledge we learned on that trip at an experiential level was far better than anything else we could have done. From the outfitter I learned:
- Animal behavior – things to watch for and how to react when animals behave in certain ways
- Hunter behavior – remaining still and motionless are skills any good hunter must learn, but the outfitter helped me identify exactly how much that mattered
- What’s possible – an experienced outfitter has tons of stories and from these stories, I learned things to do and things to avoid
The teachings are so nuanced during hunting trips, there is no book on the planet that contains the small tidbits of wisdom. Just like anything in life, it’s best to learn from experience, but what better way than to experience with a coach?
Meat Hunting Trips
When I booked my hunting trip in Texas, I was focused specifically on harvesting meat. For many people, killing animals and eating the meat is the main priority; trophies are less important. That makes hunting trips even easier (and more affordable!)
For $3,000 my friend and I were given a limit of 6 whitetail deer doe (females). That comes out to around 100 pounds of meat each person for $1,500 – $1,750 (including processing).
By itself, those prices are a tad on the expensive side per pound, but still not unreasonable given it is wild, lean, healthy meat that will last a long time.
When you consider we were housed and fed for 4 days and 5 nights AND we learned more in that period with a dedicated guide than we could have in months of hunting on our own, it was totally worth it.
There are probably cheaper hunting trips for meat if this is out of your range as well.
Trophy Hunting Trips
For people interested in trophy hunting, the outfitters can be a bit more pricey. Sometimes trophy bucks are 4 times more expensive than a female of the same species. There is very little extra meat when compared to the price, but if trophy hunting is a main priority, this can be a great route.
Some hunters can go their entire life searching for an elusive black bear or mountain lion. Perhaps even a trophy elk hunting experience. Whatever the case may be, there are outfitters across the globe that can help you experience this.
Even if it seems expensive consider your time into the equation. If you can’t spend time patiently hunting, it probably isn’t the sport for you. At the same time, you could spend weeks and weeks of your life searching for one animal to never find it. Why not shortcut the process?
Outfitters: Are Hunting Trips Worth It?
Hunting trips with an outfitter are worthwhile if you have a good outfitter. There are no assurances with animals so there is always the possibility you’ll sign up to hunt an animal and you don’t see one. It’s in the best interest of the outfitter to make sure you are aware of your odds etc. beforehand, but it is just part of hunting.
For most beginner hunters, finding the right outfitter is the best way to go. If you are looking to go on hunting trips yourself, feel free to fill out the contact form below and we will put you in touch with one of our trusted outfitters.